It has been 19 years since Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee was released to critical acclaim back in the early days of the PS1, and almost two years since Oddysee’s remake, Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty, was released on PS4. Why write a review now? Because Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty was released on my beloved PS Vita in January, and I’m always quick to the mark.
Keeping up the tradition of releasing every single Oddworld game on the handheld none of your friends own, Oddworld Inhabitants and developer Just Add Water have done something not often seen in remakes: They have made a game that looks like how our rose-tinted nostalgia goggles make us remember the original looking. It’s quite an accomplishment. When I first started New ‘n’ Tasty, having not played the original in about five years, I had to YouTube comparison videos just to see what the difference was.
Hint: There’s a huge difference.
Rebuilt from the ground up, New ‘n’ Tasty features all new 3D character models and environments. Porting duties were handed over to Nephilm Studios, and they’ve done a fantastic job, with very little significant compromise. Obviously, the graphics did have to take a hit so the game could run on the Vita, so the backgrounds aren’t as detailed, lighting isn’t as dynamic and a lot of the effects like lightning and explosions don’t look as good as they do in the console versions, but it still looks great on the Vita’s screen.
The game also runs extremely well for the most part. However, there were some hiccups here and there. A couple of times, I had to close the game because I fell through the world and couldn’t reload a checkpoint, and there was also some fairly significant slowdown in a few areas where there was a lot going on, but they are few and far between. The majority of the time, New ‘n’ Tasty runs like a dream.
The solid gameplay and sinister-yet-silly story you know and love from the original game remains unchanged. On the surface, New ‘n’ Tasty is a platformer, but at it’s heart it is a puzzle game. As Abe, you have to direct 299 of his fellow dense-as-fuck Mudokon friends to safety, before they can be turned into food by the evil, corporate Glukkons Your goal is to lead these fucking morons to portals that will send them to safety, avoiding various hazards along the way like meat grinders, mines and electric barriers using GameSpeak, a mechanic that allows Abe to says things like “Follow me” and “Wait” in an effort save these idiots. Be careful, though! The Mudokons are frustratingly ignorant of their surroundings, and will walk straight into certain death if you don’t stop them. GameSpeak also allows you to learn and repeat passwords, like Simon Says, to unlock doors and access elevators. GameSpeak is a gameplay mechanic as enjoyable in 2016 as it was in 1997, and is wholly unique to the Oddworld series.
New ‘n’ Tasty also boasts multiple endings, online leaderboards and over 20 hidden areas for you to discover. If you want to see and do everything that is on offer in New ‘n’ Tasty, you’ll have to play through the game two or three times, which is a welcome amount for a game this enjoyable.
Almost 20 years since the release of the original, Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty breathes new life into an already solid game. It may have some hiccups here and there, but overall it as a greatly enjoyable experience that is right at home on the PS Vita.